The Functions of Law


Law has many functions. In addition to setting rules and standards, it serves as a symbol for collective values. It also resolves disputes over facts. These functions of law have little to do with the coercive aspects of law, and are less directly related to the imposing of sanctions. In this article, we will explore the functions of law and how they relate to morality and political structures.

Concept of law

One argument that opposes anti-positivism is the claim that there is no neutral concept of law. Redondo makes this argument based on the criticism of Fernando Atria’s anti-positivist conception of law. Atria’s conception of law argues that law is a functional concept, and therefore no neutral concept of law can exist. But Redondo’s criticisms are not particularly persuasive because they fail to identify the main difficulty of Atria’s conception. A normative-functional conception of law, meanwhile, avoids the difficulties of Atria’s theory, and avoids many of the usual positivist objections.

Atria’s conception of law fails to distinguish between the functions of a specific instance and the general concept of law. Yet, this does not mean that a specific instance of law cannot fulfill a general, morally valuable function. Indeed, the distinction between the two functions is not mutually exclusive, and there may be cases where the same rule may create both a duty and a power, but not both.

Legal theory

Legal theory is the study of the way law works. It tries to figure out the proper role of law, what kinds of acts are subject to its sanction, and what sort of punishment is appropriate. It is often used as a guideline for legal practice. It can be confusing and often leads to double standards. In this article, we will explore some basic aspects of legal theory and the ways it can be useful to lawyers.

A legal theory is a framework that allows a lawyer to make the most effective decisions for their clients. Without it, lawyers are unable to properly support their clients. The reason for this is that lawyers tend to opt for a “bullet point” approach – factoids that are easily digestible, but rarely provide a firm foundation. Furthermore, lawyers who fail to use legal theory won’t have the ability to delve into the causes of legal problems, as they will only cover the surface of the issue.

Legal theory’s relationship to morality

Traditionally, there has been no clear distinction between legal theory and morality, even though both concepts are closely related. In ancient times, the law arose from values that were deemed morally correct by society, and then the state codified these values in the form of laws. Although the two concepts have evolved over time, they still form an integral part of legal development.

In a society based on moral standards and justice, the ultimate goal is order, and laws are meant to keep society in line. However, if a law conflicts with moral principles, the result will be further conflicts.

Legal theory’s relationship to political structures

The relationship between legal theory and political structures is a contested one. The two main camps of legal theory draw different conclusions. Both reject the subjectivity of law and seek new sources of objectivity. In the conservative camp, the motivation is obvious: law must appear objective and separate from politics in order to be effective. The left, however, has traditionally seen this as an attempt to reify society and remove social choice from individuals.

Critical legal theorists have argued that the relationship between law and politics is mediated by the legal profession. Their work focuses on the ‘failure of legal neutrality’ and the politically ’tilted’ way legal doctrine re-presents social reality. One such legal theorist, Peter Gabel, argues in a recent symposium that the Supreme Court’s aim is to pacify conflict through a false social-meaning system, much like religious ideology in previous historical periods.

Legal theory’s relationship to social sciences

This volume examines the relationship between legal theory and the social sciences. It considers methodological disagreements, collaboration and common problems. The volume also addresses the role of language in social contexts and normative pluralism. The volume also provides a critical assessment of recent research on law and social sciences.

Sociology and the legal profession often disagree on what the role of law should be. The former focuses on the material benefits and disadvantages of society, while the latter is more concerned with the social relations and interaction among individuals. Despite the differences in their approaches, both fields have produced interesting empirical studies. Pat Carlen, for instance, wrote an ethnography on magistrates’ courts that combined both sociology and Marxism.